On Friday, January 25th, I attended the ICS event at Page Hall on Air pollution & Human Health in China. The subject of this event was out of my usual comfort zone, but I was open to learning more about this field. The event did not turn out to be what I expected. What I expected was a discussion more focused on the politics surrounding China’s air pollution and climate change in general. In reality, the presentation focused more on the health effects of Chinese air pollution and a comparative study of Chinese and American air pollution. The speaker presented a different perspective than I was used to, but I was not disappointed at all because it is always useful to hear from perspectives outside your own.
There are several ways in which this event relate to International Affairs. First of all, China is quickly becoming an inescapable topic of discussion in International Affairs. Likewise, climate change is one of the most pressing international issues of our time. As the second largest economy and second most populous nation, any action that the PRC regarding climate change is very important to discuss. In other words, when these two issues are discussed in the same forum, it is important for those in international affairs to pay attention.
Academically, I believe that I gained a fair amount from this presentation. I believe that this event helped to give me a better understanding of the real health effects of pollution. Coming from a region with relatively little air pollution, I do not have much of a conception of what pollution at those levels looks like and how it can affect the human body. Second, the presentation gave me further insight into international climate change policy, a field that I do not study very often. Hopefully, I will have the chance to study similar topics in my future studies.
This program did not relate to any specific topics that I have discussed in any of my classes up until this point. Even though this topic is a major discussion in the field of international studies, I, unfortunately, have not taken any classes yet that extensively discuss China or the threat of climate change. The classes that have mentioned these topics have only covered them briefly as examples of larger international phenomena.